Starbucks Cups: Corporate stewardship or individual responsibility?

November 17, 2016

Hi and welcome to Starbucks! How would you like your coffee today? Would you like it with corporate stewardship or individual responsibility?

Uhhh, how about both?

We all need to do our part. When it comes to Starbucks, their part is to make a cup that’s recyclable so that the 4 million cups they serve a year don’t end up in the trash.

Unfortunately, our planet’s problem with waste is a massive one. One single pathway will never be enough to tame this beast, and we need to get after it from many angles. Starbucks must increase their efforts to promote reuse rather than single use. Hand in hand with that idea, they also need to clean up the supply chain, so that their products are as clean and efficient as possible from start to finish. Starbucks knows that its billions of unrecyclable cups are a big mess. We’re going to keep the pressure on Starbucks to deliver on their original promise of making cups recyclable.’s 2017 report, “Trashed: The Secret of the Starbucks Cup”, explains how Starbucks cups cannot be processed in most recycling facilities because of their plastic lining. Instead, most of the 4+ billion cups Starbucks serves annually end up in landfills. Starbucks cups are accepted for recycling in some major cities — including Seattle, New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. — but the percentage of cups that successfully make it through the entire recycling process remains unclear.